Borders debuts for New Rope and Mollie

Mollie O'Brien is playing a gig in Hawick next month
Mollie O'Brien is playing a gig in Hawick next month

BORDERERS are set to be treated to two great shows next month with a pair of world-class acts appearing at Heart of Hawick.

The New Rope String Band have been wowing the crowds at big outdoor events, theatres and arts centres across the land, while West Virginian Mollie O’Brien is a Grammy-winning performer.

new rope string band plays in Hawick next month.

new rope string band plays in Hawick next month.

Reviewers frequently concentrate on the more eccentric happenings of The New Rope String Band, often forgetting to remind everyone that the musicianship on display is pretty good too.

The group finally made their Edinburgh Festival debut last year and they carried off the highest accolade possible, winning a Herald Angel for their outstanding contribution, following a triumphant seven-night run at the Famous Spiegeltent.

The band, pictured top of page, kicked off 2013 in fine form, playing to a capacity crowd at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre during Celtic Connections, before heading for dates in France and the Netherlands.

Combining musicianship with comedy, the New Rope String Band include elements of circus clowning, vaudeville slapstick and sheer silliness with acoustic tunes.

After they played festival dates in Orkney and Shetland last year, the Shetland Times said it was “impossible not to love them” while event organisers in Orkney said they were “incredible”.

Maverick magazine told readers: “The show is stuffed full of sheer whoopee, inventiveness and endless crowd-pleasing moments”.

Mollie O’Brien, sister of the hugely influential and multi-talented Tim O’Brien, is held in high regard by all those who know the depth of her pedigree.

She has recorded three highly acclaimed albums with her brother in the 1980s before going on to serve up a string of successful solo releases, and the latest was a true family affair with husband Rich Moore, an accomplished guitar picker who has also appeared alongside some of the biggest names in the business.

On her solo CDs – Every Night in the Week and I Never Move Too Soon (Resounding Records) and Tell It True, Big Red Sun, and Things I Gave Away (on the Sugar Hill label) – she glides effortlessly from style to style.

Making a rare appearance on this side of the Atlantic as a trio (with Eric Thorin on bass and harmony vocals) to appear at the big Sore Fingers picking camp in the south of England, the couple are touring to promote their new album, Saints & Sinners.

The New Rope String Band play at the Heart of Hawick on Saturday, March 16, and Mollie O’Brien, Rich Moore and Eric Thorin appear on Friday, March 22.

Both shows start at 7.30pm and tickets are priced at £12 (£10) from 01450 360688.

To win a pair of tickets to the New Rope Band gig, answer this question: In which venue did the group play at this year’s Celtic Connections?

And to pick up a pair of briefs for Mollie O’Brien, Rich Moore and Eric Thorin’s show, answer this question: Which American state is O’Brien from?

Send your answer, name, and full address to The Southern Reporter, The Hermitage, High Street, Selkirk, TD7 4DA, or email, clearly marking which competition you are entering.

Entries must be in by Thursday, February 28 and usual Southern rules apply.